North Dakota sees 2nd top health official resign

Andrew Stahl, MD, has resigned as North Dakota's interim state health officer, marking the second resignation of a top state health officer since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports the Grand Forks Herald.  

Dr. Stahl, who has served on the state's COVID-19 response team, will step down Aug. 31, Gov. Doug Burgum announced Aug. 19. Dr. Stahl has served as an officer in the North Dakota Army National Guard's Medical Corps for more than a decade, currently with the rank of major, and became interim state health officer June 1. The governor said Dr. Stahl plans to return to clinical practice in Bismarck, N.D., and maintain his medical corps officer credentials.

The governor said the state is searching for a replacement interim state health officer, and the permanent position will be posted soon.

Dr. Stahl's resignation follows the May resignation of former state health officer Mylynn Tufte, RN, according to the Herald. It also reportedly comes amid disagreements between Dr. Stahl and the governor's office during the pandemic.

According to the Herald, Mr. Burgum said Dr. Stahl had advocated for raising the state-designated COVID-19 risk level for the state's COVID-19 hot spots like Burleigh County, and Mr. Burgum has said he doesn't want to do so until there is a long-term trend.

Mr. Burgum said that disagreement did not contribute to Dr. Stahl's resignation, and that he had hoped Dr. Stahl would stay in the position longer, the newspaper reports.

Dr. Stahl in a statement thanked the governor for the opportunity to serve in the health officer position, adding, "It has been a very challenging and rewarding position."

Read the full report here

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